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Synthesis and characterization of diamond-like carbon and DLC-MoS2 composite thin films



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In order to obtain diamond-like carbon (DLC) thin films with improved mechanical, tribological, thermal and corrosion properties for practical applications, the structure and properties of various DLC thin films including hydrogen-free DLC, hydrogenated DLC, and DLC-MoS2 composites synthesized under different conditions were investigated in this thesis. The research methodologies and the main results are summarized in following paragraphs. Hydrogen-free DLC thin films were synthesized by biased target ion beam deposition (BTIBD) method, while hydrogenated DLC thin films were deposited by ion beam deposition technique using a Kaufman-type ion source and an end-Hall ion source. DLC-MoS2 composite thin films were also synthesized using BTIBD technique in which MoS2 was produced by sputtering a MoS2 target while DLC was simultaneously deposited by ion beam deposition. The influence of processing parameters on the bonding structure, morphology and properties of the deposited films was investigated using atomic force microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, synchrotron based near edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, nanoindentation, ball-on-disk and corrosion testing. Finally, the influence of annealing temperature on the structure and properties of pure DLC and DLC-MoS2 composite films in ambient air and low pressure environments was studied. In the case of BTIBD method, hydrogen-free DLC thin films with exceptionally high smoothness and low friction coefficient were prepared by biased target sputtering of graphite target without additional ion bombardment either by negative bias of substrate or assisting ion source. For ion beam deposition technique with Kaufman ion source, the DLC thin films synthesized at ion energies of 300 eV showed the highest sp3 content and optimum properties. Regarding end-Hall ion source, the best properties achieved in DLC films synthesized at ion energies of 100 eV. Comparing with pure DLC and pure MoS2 films, the DLC-MoS2 films deposited at low biasing voltages showed better tribological properties including lower coefficient of friction and wear coefficient in ambient air environment. Also, comparing with pure DLC films, the DLC-MoS2 thin films showed a slower rate of graphitization and higher structure stability throughout the range of annealing temperatures, indicating a relatively higher thermal stability.



Diamond-like carbon, Molybdenum disulfide, Thermal stability, Tribological properties



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


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